Attorney appointed in Gardnerville shooting |

Attorney appointed in Gardnerville shooting

Sheila Gardner
Nicole Followill appears before Judge Tom Perkins (not pictured) in a video arraignment Wednesday while prosecutor Erik Levin listens.
Shannon Litz | The Record-Courier

A 29-year-old Gardnerville woman, accused of murdering her roommate whom she claimed beat her, appeared Wednesday for arraignment with a black eye.

Nicole Christine Followill asked East Fork Judge Tom Perkins to appoint a lawyer to represent her on a charge of open murder with use of a firearm.

She told Perkins she couldn’t afford to hire her own lawyer.

“I don’t have the money for it,” Followill said.

She said her only possession was a car.

Followill was arrested Monday after the shooting death of Jason Richard Thrift, 33.

According to court documents, Followill reportedly told investigators and her brother that she shot Thrift because he was beating her.

She is accused of shooting him once in the head at the home they shared on Toler Lane in Gardnerville.

Followill is in Douglas County Jail on $1 million bail.

Perkins appointed attorney Derrick Lopez to represent Followill and set her next court appearance for Wednesday.

Following the shooting Monday, Followill was taken to Douglas County Jail where she declined to make a statement and asked for a lawyer.

After she was read her Miranda rights, Followill volunteered that she had just “shot someone” because she was being beaten.

According to reports, she had bruising and swelling on her left cheek “consistent with being struck in the face.”

She also complained of pain in her hands and wrists. There were scratches and cuts to both hands. Followill refused medical attention, according to reports.

A preliminary breath test indicated her alcohol level was .231, according to the court document.

Followill’s brother told investigators Thrift contacted him twice on Monday, requesting a place to stay because he said the suspect attacked him, and was kicking him out of the house.

When Thrift failed to show up, Followill’s brother drove to the house from his apartment on nearby Waterloo Lane. He said he heard a gunshot when he was one house away from his sister’s and saw Thrift’s body lying in the doorway of the rental. Thrift’s belongings were on the front lawn, according to reports.

Deputies found two handguns in the living room of the residence. There were no other people in the home.

Followill is on a suspended sentence for driving under the influence following her arrest on June 30.

According to reports, she was pulled over with a .221 preliminary breath test, nearly three times the legal limit of .08 for driving.

She was also charged with child endangerment because she had her 9-year-old son in the car. That charge was later dismissed.

She was sentenced on Nov. 21 to 62 days in jail, with 60 days suspended, and fined $900.

A status report in her file from a counselor indicated she was participating in a recovery group and “appears to be doing well.”

According to Thrift’s Facebook page, he was a 2000 graduate of Mohave High School in Bullhead City, Ariz., and worked for TNT Framing. He left Bullhead City last year.

He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from November 2001 to June 2005.

Followill is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Dec. 20. That’s the same day 81-year-old Melvin Norlund has a hearing on an open murder charge following the Nov. 21 shooting death of Catherine Mary Costanza, 51, who was his caretaker.

The unrelated shooting deaths occurred within 11 days of each other.

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